The Willamette Angels Conference
The Willamette Angel Conference is an exciting component of the South Willamette’s startup ecosystem. Founded in 2009, the Willamette Angel Conference (WAC) is an investment conference, connecting early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors. The WAC is a joint venture of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Oregon RAIN and the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce designed to advance the entrepreneurial development movement within Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
The Willamette Angel Conference alternates between the communities of Eugene and Corvallis each year. Entrepreneurs and startups submit business plans for review and coaching, ultimately vying for an investment made by the WAC investor LLC.
In its nine-year history, the Willamette Angel Conference has invested over $3 million in early-stage businesses. The WAC continues to attract around 200 people to the conference each year.
What we do
Increase seed capital and quality deal flow in the Willamette Valley.
Develop a collaborative group of investors who provide funding options for the region’s startups.
Showcase early-stage entrepreneurial ventures in Oregon.
Demonstrate the region’s commitment to entrepreneurship.
Provide coaching and mentoring to startups and entrepreneurs.
Build awareness about the importance of startups and their impact on local economies.
How the conference works
The WAC consists of two components: the conference event and the WAC Investor LLC. The WAC LLC operates in a similar manner as the other five angel investor conferences in Oregon. Investment units are purchased in $5,000 increments by accredited investors who sign membership into an LLC specifically designed for the Willamette Angels Conference.
- Startup companies apply online to receive investment from the WAC.
- Investors evaluate business plans of applicant companies and determine 10 to 15 semi-finalist companies.
- Companies are selected to pitch their idea and answer questions during weekly evening meetings in March and April.
- Investors form small due diligence teams to research the companies and report back to the WAC investor LLC.
- Finalist companies are picked to pitch at the Conference.
- In May the investment winner(s) are announced at the Conference.
- The WAC has invested more than $3 million in early-stage startups in its nine-year history.
- $1 million of funding was announced at the 2017 WAC, and five Oregon startups received $50,000-$250,000.
- This is not a ‘winner takes all’ setup, a number of companies receive funding every year.
Industries invested in by the WAC
The WAC invests in multiple industries, including but not limited to:
- Clean Technology
- Computers and Peripherals
- Consumer Products
- Electronics / Instrumentation
- Internet / Web Services
- IT Services
- Medical Devices and Equipment